Devotion – August 5 – “Are You Hearing the Voice of God?”
Jesus said, “Very truly, I tell you, anyone who does not enter the sheepfold by the gate but climbs in by another way is a thief and a bandit. The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep. The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep hear his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out. When he has brought out all his own, he goes ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice. They will not follow a stranger, but they will run from him because they do not know the voice of strangers.”
In this chapter, Jesus goes into great depth about the relationship between the shepherd and his sheep. In the opening verses, Jesus speaks about how necessary it is for the sheep to not only hear, but recognize, the shepherd’s voice. In this way they stay close to the one who will guide and protect them.
Many of you remember the award winning T.V. show The Golden Girls. The most beloved character on the program was Rose (played by Betty White). Rose, was lovable and somewhat dim-witted. Often, she would share with the others stories of her hometown, St. Olaf’s, Minnesota.
“We had someone at St. Olaf’s Hospital,” said Rose one time. “He had been sick for a long time and was so tired of it. He kept saying, ‘Please let me die. Please take out all these tubes. Please let me die.’ So, in the end the doctors did it and they let him die, and we all felt terrible.”
Dorothy, the sanest member of The Golden Girls, asked, “Why should you feel terrible, if the man wanted to die?”
“Well,” said Rose earnestly, “we could never be sure what we did was right, because in the very next bed, was St. Olaf’s meanest ventriloquist.”
Not hearing the voice of the good shepherd can have some serious consequences. We have all known people, who after listening to the wrong voices, found themselves in some serious situations. Sometimes it has even taken their lives. Yes, there is great danger in not hearing the voice of the Good Shepherd and letting him lead us.
Pastor Will Corderio shared the importance of hearing God, when he sent this letter to his son Aaron: “Dear Aaron, I’m speaking at a youth conference. Earlier today while I was tuning my acoustic guitar, the sound man cranked up some ear-piercing rock music. I kept trying to tune my guitar by putting my ear closer and closer to it, but to no avail. My guitar was no match for the high-powered speakers. Finally, I put my ear right onto the wood itself. And, lo and behold, regardless of how loud the music raged, I could now hear my acoustic guitar. But it wasn’t because my guitar got any louder. It was because my ear got closer.
“Aaron, you’ll come to times when voices around you will be so loud that it will be difficult to hear the gentle voice of our Savior. I have come to learn that God is always be speaking, but sometimes in order to hear Him, we’ve got to bend our ears so that we will hear the very vibrations of his heart.
“Jesus wants us to be a people who are willing to bend our ears to hear Him. What pleases Him most are people who are willing to take time to listen every day. Develop ears that hear.
“Love, your Father.”
Across the board, the biggest fear that pastors have right now, is the disconcerting feeling that without worship and Bible studies being as readily available to people, that they are filling their time up with other voices. Many of these voices are dangerous and can lead people further from God. So, I ask you – take some of the quiet time you now have and use it to become familiar once again to the voice of God. Pick up your Bible’s and begin reading one of the Gospel’s and let Jesus speak to you. Spend some time in prayer. Make worship a priority whether it is in person or through YouTube.
Don’t let Satan use this time to lead you away from the Good Shepherd you loves you – literally -- to death!
~ God bless, Dan